Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics, the Chinese laundry detergent company called out for racism for releasing an ad showing a black man being “washed” white, has shouldered the blame onto the media for causing the ad to go viral.
The ad shows a black man being stuffed into a washing machine by an Asian women, together with Qiaobi laundry detergent, and emerging as a fair-skinned Asian man.
The advert, which first appeared on Chinese social media in March, went viral on social media and across the news for what one Twitter user described as the “most racist ad of the year”.
Following the negative backlash, the detergent company have issued a statement apologising for the “harm caused to African people because of the spread of the ad”, but blamed the media for magnifying controversy surrounding the ad.
“We express regret that the ad should have caused a controversy,” the statement issued late on Saturday read. “But we will not shun responsibility for controversial content.”
“We express our apology for the harm caused to the African people because of the spread of the ad and the over-amplification by the media,” the company said.
The statement goes on to request the public and media do not “over-read” the campaign, with a spokesperson for the company telling Chinese newspaper the Global Times that the ad was intended only to promote the product and the company “had never thought about the issue of racism”.
The spokesperson added that critics of the ad were “too sensitive”.